The ‘Hearth&Home Exhibition’ in Harrogate is a fantastic place to see new products and companies, along with getting information on changes to industry standards and practices from governing bodies such as HETAS and SIA (Stove Industry Alliance).
This year the exhibition was filled with new styles and products but one of the biggest changes was to the stove and solid fuel market.
Recent air quality issues in London has brought air quality improvement to the forefront of the solid fuel industry. The SIA are working with HETAS and the UK Government to try to standardise and improve not only stoves but the wood being burnt in them.
The current CE and DEFRA approved stoves are highly efficient and clean burning, to a standard, however SIA have introduced ‘Ecodesign Ready’, which will become a legal requirement in 2022, to improve the current standards. To qualify for the SIA ‘Ecodesign Ready’ label a stove must be independently tested by an approved test laboratory and meet the emissions and minimum efficiency criteria for ‘Ecodesign Ready’. The test results must then be verified by HETAS and it can then be listed on their website as ‘Ecodesign Ready’.
While CE testing deals with CO (Carbon Monoxide) levels, along with certain sized particulates and DEFRA deals with efficiency, ‘Ecodesign Ready’ includes standards for CO, NOx (Nitrogen Oxides), OGC (Organic Gaseous Compounds), particulates and efficiencies which will help stove manufacturers make safer and more efficient products that will in turn cause less air pollution.
HETAS are implementing standards for the fuel to make sure that the stove standards remain the same as testing shows in peoples homes. The issue with testing a stove as a manufacturer is that the tests are done with wood that has a moisture content of 25% (we recommend 20%) or less which is the recommended moisture content for burning wood, this means that the stoves meet current requirements but only when burning fuel of a correct moisture content.
Freshly cut wood can have a moisture content between 60% and 80%, not all solid fuel users cut their own wood or have the space to let their wood dry for several years, which means that many will purchase pre-dried solid fuel. Not every company that sells “ready to burn” fire wood has dried it to the appropriate moisture content (25% or less) and not every solid fuel user has a moisture meter to check the moisture content of their wood, this can all lead to burning wet wood in a stove.
A moisture meter or purchasing kiln dried wood is currently the best way to know if your wood has the correct moisture content, with the introduction of the ‘Ecodesign Ready’ working in tandem with ‘Woodsure’, which is the new standard for wood, it will be easier for everyone to make sure that the wood they’re burning in their stove is of the correct moisture content.
For an example of what can happen when burning wet fuel, check out our “Chimney Horror Story” blog post and for more information on ‘Ecodesign Ready’ you can go to the SIA website.